Social Media for Churches: 7 Deadly Sins That Kill Engagement
Nearly 70% of nonprofits consider social media to be one of their most effective communication channels. Of course, establishing a social media presence — or even maintaining one — can seem like a daunting task. In most circles, social media has the reputation of being finicky, especially with the rise of “cancel culture.” Some churches choose to avoid it altogether in fear that they’ll say something that’s perceived entirely wrong.
Fortunately, being successful on social media platforms isn’t as hard as it seems. In general, the platforms are also more forgiving than most people think, especially when it comes to small, local organizations like your church. Still, there are some mistakes you simply don’t want to make. Here are the top seven.
#1 Posting Without a Plan in Place
When most ministries first start using social media, they decide to dip their toe in the water. That means making a few posts, maybe sharing Scripture or asking questions, and then almost always being disappointed by the lack of response. The simple fact of the matter is that social media engagement isn’t something you’ll see overnight.
What’s more, randomly posting on social media can actually work against you. Platforms have algorithms that determine what followers and non-followers of your page see in their feed, so it’s important that you approach social media with consistency and intention to make the most of your efforts.
Ultimately, this entails crafting a strategy for your social media posts. That means creating a schedule for when you’ll post, gathering ideas for what you’ll post, and setting objectives so that you can track your performance and improve over time.
#2 Using Social As a Broadcast Channel
Sharing links to your latest blog post can be a great move. But if all you ever do is share links or make announcements, you aren’t going to see the engagement you want. In order to get the most out of social media’s potential, you need to build your strategy around unique content. Announcements and link shares should be secondary to the rest.
There’s no doubt that social media can get a message around fast, but don’t bore people by treating it like a digital bulletin board. Using social media effectively always involves posting engaging content that people look forward to seeing.
#3 Repeating Content Across Platforms
Even if you’re creating unique content for social media, your strategy cannot be to repost that same content across all of your channels. On each platform, you need to offer content tailored to the platform’s format and what the audience on that platform prefers to engage with (i.e., images on Instagram, a short text post on Twitter, video on Facebook).
While it takes substantially more time, coming up with a unique schedule and ideas for each channel you hope to build a following on will help you engage people across platforms, improving overall engagement and interaction.
#4 Failing to Interact with Followers
Social media is built around one thing: Socializing! There’s no reason to put all of that work into getting engagement only to ignore it once you start seeing a response. A great social media page doesn’t rely on users to interact with each other. Rather, your page manager should be quickly and consistently responded to comments, answering questions, and replying to messages.
One study found that 72% of social users 18-34 are more loyal to brands that reply to them, and nearly half of those over 45 feel the same way. So, if you’re not interacting like you should be, it will most certainly harm your metrics. Silence comes across as stagnance, which will convince people they shouldn’t post because it won’t get a response and may not even be seen.
#5 Trying Too Hard is Almost as Bad as Not Trying at All
For churches, figuring out how to interact on social media can be tough. You want to represent the community-oriented, friendly, and welcoming feel of your ministry, but you need to do so in an authentic manner. Doing so is a must since 34% of users say it’s annoying when a brand has no personality on social media. However, over 32% also say it’s annoying if a brand tries to be funny.
Striking a balance requires trial-and-error, along with a keen understanding of who your audience is. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to be authentic. If followers think you’re not genuine, it will cost you their trust and loyalty.
#6 Ignoring The Outside World
Understandably, some churches will opt to ignore politics and news at all costs. However, if your approach to social media entirely ignores the outside world, it can reflect on your authenticity. On social media, users are constantly acknowledging news near and far, and your church should find ways to work timely and relevant events into its posts.
When you discuss current events and even pop culture, it helps you build relatability, contributing to your authenticity and boosting engagement as you’re giving your audience something unique that they find interesting to read.
#7 Forgetting Your Objectives
While your social media strategy requires you to remember a lot. You absolutely cannot forget your objectives. After all, failing to set objectives means you cannot track metrics, performance, and improvement over time.
While you should focus on engagement above all else, what does engagement do for your church if it doesn’t drive action? As an organization, you need to set objectives and work them naturally into your strategy, ensuring that the content you share encourages people to donate, volunteer, or simply attend your services.
By telling your church’s story on social media and speaking authentically about your mission, your appreciation for supporters, and everything you’re doing as an organization to pursue your mission, you’ll automatically breed loyalty. By incorporating strong and clear calls-to-actions in your posts, you’ll then be able to harness it.
Get More Out of Your Social Media Presence
Whether your church is just starting, trying to improve the performance of active channels, or looking to revisit social media after a hiatus, avoiding these seven mistakes will help you be more effective. To make the most of your efforts, make sure that you build a solid social media strategy as your foundation and then stick to all the goals you set along the way.
If you’re looking for tools to help your church perform on social media and elsewhere, Donorwerx has the resources you need. With Donorwerx, you can take control of your donor engagement metrics, allowing you to create a loyal, supporting following while spending less time on the monotonous backend work. Interested in learning more? Click here.